Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pond Snail Programmed To Be Left Or Right 'Handed'

Date:
November 13, 2008
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
Just like humans, the pond snail is genetically programmed to use the left- or right-handed side of its brain to perform different tasks, new research reveals.

A young researcher has shown that just like humans the pond snail is genetically programmed to use the left or right handed side of its brain to perform different tasks.
Credit: iStockphoto/Rene Mansi

A third-year undergraduate student at The University of Nottingham has had her research into the sex life of the pond snail published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The study by Hayley Frend, who is a student in the School of Biology, was published November 11 in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters.

The young researcher has shown that just like humans the pond snail is genetically programmed to use the left or right handed side of its brain to perform different tasks.

In the past it was naively presumed that only humans use different sides of their brains to carry out different tasks. Research has since shown that some vertebrates, such as fish, can use their brains in this way. And recently it has been shown that behavioural handedness is not just confined to vertebrates.

Hayley spent the summer in the laboratories at the Institute of Genetics studying the sex life and genetics of the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. She has established that just like humans, snails also tend to have brains that produce 'handed' behaviour.

Her work, under the supervision of lecturer, Dr Angus Davison has shown that a handedness of the pond snail in their mating behaviour is matched by an asymmetry in the brain which is pre-programmed by its mother's genes.

The pond snail nearly always has a right handed (dextral) to its shell but sometimes it is left handed (sinistral). As dextral snails circle anticlockwise and sinistral snails circle clockwise, an unusual consequence is that two 'mirror image' snails will circle in different directions and are frequently unable to mate.

Hayley's Supervisor, Dr Angus Davison said: "It never fails to surprise me how research on a mere pond snail can contribute to an understanding of the way our own brain works. Lots of new research, not just my lab, is showing that the effective functioning of the brain, whether they are human, fish or invertebrates, requires that the separate halves of the brain dedicate themselves to separate functions. If this specialisation has evolved multiple times, then it is clearly a very important one for animals."

Hayley said: "It was an invaluable experience for me to work in the lab over the summer, but I never expected that my work would be published so rapidly. I am so excited!"

The research was funded by the Nuffield Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Pond Snail Programmed To Be Left Or Right 'Handed'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081111203507.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2008, November 13). Pond Snail Programmed To Be Left Or Right 'Handed'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081111203507.htm
University of Nottingham. "Pond Snail Programmed To Be Left Or Right 'Handed'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081111203507.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins